As a business owner, one of your main goals is to generate sales through marketing, and another is to measure and keep those marketing costs down. Using the free web-based software Google Analytics it’s possible to keep tabs on your marketing expenditure and to measure how well (or not) your marketing is working for you. Most web platforms, from blogging platforms such as WordPress to shopping carts such as OS Commerce offer some type of integration with Google Analytics, so if you haven’t already, start by activating this feature.
Before we start – It is always a good idea to check that you’ve integrated Google Analytics and that the tracking code appears across all your pages. The people at SiteScan offer a diagnostic tool that verifies if your Google Analytics tracking code is installed properly on your website. It’s free and takes just a few minutes to report back.
5 ways to use Google Analytics to measure online marketing:
1. Measure user engagement – When you first start using Google Analytics, chances are you might be somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of information. Therefore, the first and easily understood factor to measure is how well users are engaging with your site. Head to the ‘visitors’ tab and look at bounce rate, time on site and page views per user. If your site is offering the information users are looking for, you’d expect to find low bounce rate and high time on site for example. Of course this will vary from one site to the other, and will depend on the type of information you offer.
2. Measure traffic sources – It is essential to get 360 degree visibility on the level of web traffic you’re getting and the origin this traffic. Head to ‘traffic sources’ menu option and ‘all traffic sources’. Now you will see the different web properties which are driving traffic to your site. You’ll notice that the information is displayed as source/medium. Source is the web property which sent you the traffic and medium refers to the type of traffic. This can vary from organic which is unpaid traffic from google search, to cpc which is traffic from paid advertising channels etc. If you’re paying for advertising for example, it is important through this option to get an understanding of what you’re getting for your buck.
3. Measure your KPIs – Key Performance Indicators are a measure of performance which every business can set for itself and in Google Analytics these can be measured through setting up goals. Under the ‘goals’ menu you can set different visitor actions which will count as a goal. If one of your KPI’s for example is to measure newsletter subscription, this is precisely where you would look to measure this goal. Through goals you can measure almost endless user actions which is another reason why I find Google Analytics so useful for tracking and reporting. Setting up your first goal takes just a few minute, start by reading this how-to guide.
4. Measure e-commerce sales and total revenue – Google Analytics has an optional module which users can choose to install called e-commerce tracking. Designed for those business owners selling online, e-commerce tracking will report on the traffic sources driving web traffic to the site AND the revenue generated from each channel. It will also provide useful e-commerce insights such as average order value, conversion rates and could work as a basic stock management system. Google offers a handy one pager how-to guide to set up the e-commerce module, though it is best to use a web developer for this task.
5. Measure almost any web marketing channel – On top of the predefined traffic channels you’ll find in Google Analytics, you can tag almost any web traffic channel which will be displayed in your account. By adding a few tracking variables to any URL using this tool, Google Analytics can highlight this URL as a traffic source and report on its quality in terms of bounce rate, user interaction and e-commerce transactions. It’s possible to track social media traffic, traffic from Ad Display campaigns and recently also traffic from your RSS feed.
I hope you found my tips useful.
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Michelle Strassburg ia the marketing director at Wood and Beyond, sellers of hardwood floors and kitchen oak worktops. Michelle has over 10 years experience managing online marketing.